Archive for the 'Filters' Category

Water Softeners

Jan. 10th 2013

How a Water Softener Works

Before the water enters your faucet in your sink or tub, it’s in the ground. During this time water accumulates soluble pieces of whatever passes through it like dirt. In some cases this can make it unfit to consume. However, in most cases the water contains minerals like magnesium and calcium found in the Earth. Unfortunately, for many homeowners this makes the water hard.
That’s why you may wonder why the dishes you washed were spotless when wet, but filled with spots when dry. Hard water simply makes detergents and soaps ineffective. Instead of completely dissolving the detergent, the water makes it combines with the minerals. It’s like having two unwanted houseguest in your bedroom. Together the minerals and soap cure.
Besides making the dishes look horrible, hard water makes your skin feel sticky, your hair lifeless and your clothes trapped with dirt. Let’s not forget about your plumbing system. The magnesium and calcium build up in the pipes and reduce the flow to your faucets.

The Solution: Water Softener

To eliminate hard water, you need to get rid of the magnesium and calcium make the water hard. You have some options such as chemical treatments. However, many homeowners choose to use a water softener.

A water softener consists of mechanical device fitted into your house’s water supply system. When in use, the device infuses sodium and takes out the minerals. It’s a simple process referred to as ion exchange.

How the Ion Exchange Works

In the water softener’s mineral tank there are tiny polystyrene beads. These beads are typically called zeolite or resin. They carry a negative charge to lure the magnesium and calcium (which have positive charges) out of the water. As the water travels through the mineral tank, the calcium and magnesium cling to the beads. The sodium ions are positive, but don’t carry strong charges. That’s why a brine solution is needed. The solution is flushed throughout the tank where the beads are located. Since the beads are already saturated with the minerals, the large amount of sodium ions is good enough to eliminate the minerals from the beads. The sodium ions then travel into the water.

The water softening process isn’t completed yet because the water inters another phase called 3-pahse regenerating cycle. The first phase reverses the flow of water. It flushes out the dirt from the mineral tank. Next, the sodium gathers on the beads to replace the minerals. The magnesium and calcium are flushed down the drain. Any additional brine is flushed from the tank and the brine tank refills.

Generally, there are no health concerns regarding sodium entering the water. However, if anyone in the house is on a sodium-restricted diet plan, he or she may not want to drink the water. Also, some homeowners don’t like the taste of the somewhat salty water that’s been treated. If you or anyone in your household falls into one of these categories, you can install a water dispenser which bypasses the softener. Another option is using potassium chloride instead of salt.

Is Hard Water The Problem?

For many homeowners the answer is yes. However, if you want to make sure hard water is actually causing the problem before you buy a water softener, that are test kits. These kits help you figure out the water’s hardness which is measured in grains per gallon, or GPG. Hard water ranges from 60 to 120 GPG. When hard water is the problem, a water softener is often the solution for homeowners.


Posted by plumber | in Drinking Water, Filters | No Comments »

Water Filtration Systems

Sep. 28th 2012

Only about 1% of the Earth’s supply of fresh water is available for human and animal consumption at any given time. The United States is blessed with plenty of fresh water, though some major metropolitan centers are forced to transport fresh water from hundreds of miles away.

With the growth of population seemingly straining our resources at times, and with the increase of pollution which accompanies human activity, often our water supplies are less pure than they should be for optimal health. Governments have set quality standards for drinking water, but too often, the combination of contaminants with remedial efforts leaves the water “safe” to drink, but by no means “pure”.

Our public water supplies are tainted with chlorine, fluoride, arsenic and organic toxins, like viruses and parasitic water creatures. There can even be traces of carcinogens in many of our public water supplies, as well as in the water table, from which private wells draw their supply. In up to 1/3 of fresh water sources in the United States, different mineral contaminants have undesirable effects on clothing and human health, and produce unpleasant odors.

Bottled water has been very popular as a supply of drinking water, but it is costly (compared to tap water), and suspicions arise from time to time that these products are not as pure as they purport to be.
Boiling water kills any microorganisms that might contaminate it, and it will remove added chlorine, but it does nothing to remove heavy metals or minerals that may be present. Distilling water will leave you with pure H2O, but is a rather impractical solution. Filtration will help to reduce sediments, rust and other solid particles which can cause an unpleasant appearance – and odors – and which can lead to blockage of plumbing fixtures, such as shower heads, over time.

There are different methods of filtration, depending on your individual needs; a test of your home’s water quality will help determine the best type of filtering. Many filtration vendors will perform such a testfor free. Municipal water utilities will also provide a water quality report for your area upon request. Lead content may not be accurately represented in public water quality estimates, because it may be introduced after it enters the home. If your home or business is older, and it is possible that lead may be found in your pipes, the more reliable test is one that examines the water coming from your tap. Levels of contaminants will vary with the season, or with the weather, so that must be considered when reading a water quality report. Filtration will allow you to maintain a consistent level of purity.

The primary methods of filtration are carbon filtering and reverse osmosis systems. Carbon filters out chlorine, chloroform, pesticides and other organic chemicals. Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems filter out fluoride, iron, nitrates, lead and organic contaminants. It is possible to combine both filtration methods in order to eliminate the widest range of contaminants, and many RO systems include an activated-carbon post filter.
Bear in mind that a reverse-osmosis system discards about 4 gallons of water for every clear gallon produced, though there are various remedies being investigated to reduce this waste. If this option is attractive to you, talk to the vendor about the various waste reduction methods.

There are also different installation methods, ranging widely in price. The least expensive option is to purchase a pitcher which filters drinking water. There are also faucet-mounted filters, which can filter the water from a tap. A more complete – and more expensive – option is to install a system which filters all the water entering the home or business. Chlorine, commonly found in drinking water – aside from being poisonous in large quantities – dries out hair and skin. Filtering this chemical out of the water supply will provide a noticeable improvement when showering. Only an in-line filtering system will provide filtered water for the shower as well.

A faucet-mounted system, while relatively inexpensive, requires more frequent filter changes, while in-line systems can be installed which last several years between filter changes. Indicators can also be included to tell you when the filters are due to be changed. Medical experts suggest that we should drink at least 8 cups of water daily, much more water than most of us drink. 80% of our daily water intake is from what we drink. There is water in many things we eat, but most of our intake is from drinking it.

Water that tastes better will make it more attractive to us, and we might be encouraged to drink more of it if the unpleasant odors and unsightly solids were removed. A whole-house filtering system would also make it more likely that our pets and even our potted plants and gardens get pure water, which would improve their health.

Posted by plumber | in Drinking Water, Filters, Pipes | No Comments »

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